I was reading “The Packer” this afternoon and was in part struck by the article touting Aunt Mid’s plans to begin production after being linked to illnesses in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Canada. However, I was stunned by Dominic Riggio, president of the Detroit-based company, refusal to accept that his company is responsible for nearly two dozen illnesses. As he was quoted:
“There’s nothing left to test here,” he said. “We feel like we should be able to get a retraction from the state health department or an endorsement from the state that says our product is safe to eat.”
As I said a few days ago:
“It’s bad enough that they refuse to name their source,” continued Marler. “But on their website, they go so far as to say that no contamination has been found in their products. This claim is disingenuous at best, reflecting tests done on other product in hand. The link to Aunt Mid’s is clear, and so is their responsibility to the consumer—to reveal where the tainted lettuce originated, so that testing can pinpoint the source, and it can be stopped. Lettuce is highly perishable; every day that passes means information lost.”
As the Michigan State Department of Health reported:
Jennifer Holton, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Agriculture, said Oct. 6 that while all of the state’s product tests were negative for E. coli, the samples were taken in late September, more than a week after the last reported illness. “We’re still looking at lettuce as the primary source of illness, and Aunt Mid’s is still our common thread,” she said. Spokesman James McCurtis said the Michigan Department of Community Health linked the outbreak to Aunt Mid’s after clusters of illnesses emerged, including nine Michigan State University students and three University of Michigan students who ate at campus facilities. Five inmates at Lenawee County Jail also became sick. As of Oct. 2, there were 35 reported illnesses and at least 18 hospitalizations in Michigan and six illnesses and five hospitalizations in Illinois. An Ohio resident also became ill while traveling in Illinois. The Canadian Health Inspection Agency said Oct. 4 that two illnesses in Ontario appear to be related to the outbreak.